Invincible summer – in the chill of winter….

All my life I have loved and been inspired by quotes.

At this dark time of year approaching the solstice, as winter begins to grip, I thought I’d post a couple of special favourites: I hope you find them inspiring! And – feel free to share one of your own in a comment…


River Kelvin Dec 2010
River Kelvin, Glasgow UK, Dec 2010

photo: Anne Whitaker 8.12.10

“In the midst of winter
I finally learned
That there was in me
An invincible summer”      

(This is a popular quote whose original source I have as yet not traced, but have come across a slight variation ie ‘within me there lay an invincible summer’ – different sites have different versions. Come on, detectives out there! Where in Camus’ writings does this quote appear? Let me know!)

Albert Camus

( Albert Camus 1913-1960 was a French philosopher best known for his book L’Etranger (The Outsider) whose existentialist philosophy influenced a whole post-war generation)


“It is far more creative to work with the idea of mindfulness rather than with the idea of will.Too often people try to change their lives by using the will as a kind of hammer to beat their lives into shape. If you work with a different rhythm, you will come easily and naturally home to yourself. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go.”

John O’Donohue, pp 83-4 “Anam Cara” Bantam Books 1999

(John O’Donohue 1956-2008 was an Irish poet turned priest, whose writing merged Celtic spirit and love of the natural world)


300 words copyright Anne Whitaker/John O’Donohue/Albert Camus/ 2015
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

17 thoughts on “Invincible summer – in the chill of winter….

  1. it’s great to load this online, though internet continues to be frustrating and slow.. i’ve a screen full of pages to read offline and enjoy, but alas, no comments from me from the cloud forest!

    the past week was one FULL of detours and hurdles, and i wondered, ‘is very single planet in the universe in retrograde mode?

    today was better, and finally things are moving in the right direction! have a good weekend amiga, and thanks for the food for thought above!

    1. You are welcome, Lisa! Happy to provide food for thought any time. Yes, this is rather a period of detours and hurdles – one of Scotland’s main arterial bridges, across the River Forth into Edinburgh, has had to be closed this week for the rest of the year owing to faults recently discovered….detours for everyone…

    1. Well, Martha, that John Donohue quote really helped me to gain a positive perspective during a long period, fortunately long past now ( 2001-8) where I had no idea where I was going, and had to trust the Unseen to get me through. I have – I’m happy to say – failed to fully regain my former sense of urgency, and am much better at just waiting, listening…

      Glad the quote’s posting was timeous for you.

  2. Regarding Albert Camus’ quote, I fear that I have been humbled, for I cannot find a source other than the two stand-alone versions you mentioned:

    “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
    ― Albert Camus

    “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

    “And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
    ― Albert Camus

    Note: The Nobel Prize in Literature 1957

  3. Hi Anne,
    I love your writing. I found you recently when I ask Google what was Scotland’s birth chart. Scotland was about to play Australia at rugby, and I was looking for some clue in the astrology as to the outcome. I thought the article was spot on,and I love the chart as it resonated deeply with my own. I have a ruling 10° Aries Moon thats the handle of a bucket type chart (11th) in mutual reception with mars. I am a native of Dundee and have lived in Montana for the past 29 years. I am away to look up John O Donohue, powerful quote. So here are two of my favourites.
    “Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets.For it and knowledge can raise men to the Divine.”
    Ludwig van Beethoven.

    “The intelligent seek self control, children want candy”


    1. Greetings, Ian – from a very wet and windy Scotland tonight! Many thanks for your kind words about my writing. Very much appreciated. And a big thank-you for sharing those two great quotes. I love Rumi…

  4. DingDingDing!!! Your Camus quotation is sourced by the Yale Book of Quotations as coming from L’éte, part of Return to Tipasa (1954). The original French is, “Au milieu de l’hiver, j’ai découvert en moi un invincible été.” Clearly, that accounts for the varying translations.

    You can find it here, at the end of the 9th paragraph.

  5. Well, Linda, you are a star! Obviously I didn’t look hard enough…I would translate from the French thus: “In the midst of winter, I found in myself an invincible summer…”

  6. Have been not admitting it all to be present, and given.

    If love, love. Possible or impossible because of other
    person. But actual, not dreamt.
    And I no more the victim of than anyone of any
    love. This is not the devil. It is the devil who
    says this is the devil.
    Will look at everything, will not turn eyes down or
    sidewise. For it is not for me to say where the hope
    lies, where death is made life.

    This stiff shroud of ice, this mock of bloom,
    this weight, this glittering load with the appearance
    of feather, is promise given of spring, this anything
    but green, this load from above, most icy, most harsh,
    yet there it is—spring

    -Barbara Deming

    You’ll have to scroll down a bit, but you’ll find two versions of the quote — a wonderful quote — at the above link. This is not unusual. I suspect they are both translations from the same French. More importantly, you will find two sources from books in English. I hope this helps. I stumbled on your site this evening and thought I’d give chasing down the quotes a try. I do hope to read more of this very uplifting blog.
    Evan Jones (writing from a small town in Central Coast, California)

    1. Hello Evan, many thanks for your kind words and for the sleuthing! Do have a further browse – and leave a comment here and there. And – New Year greetings to you when it comes…

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